Scientists in Israel are trialling a new cancer treatment they hope could be used to remove proteins produced by malignant cells from the bloodstream.
Professor Gal Markel, director of the Ella Lemelbaum Institute for Immuno-Oncology at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, is leading a 40 patient clinical study to evaluate the effectiveness of immunopheresis therapy.
Some cancer cells, he said, release proteins into the bloodstream that can sabotage the ability of immune cells to fight the disease.
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The new treatment, which resembles dialysis, could “neutralise the cancer by filtering those proteins out of the bloodstream so that the patient’s own immune system can fight effectively, either alone or in tandem with existing immunotherapy drugs,” he went on.
“The most important thing for me is to improve cancer patients’ survival and quality of life,” he added. “With this trial, there is real hope that we can really make that happen.”
The team say immunopheresis therapy could potentially be used to treat various conditions, including breast cancer, resistant metastatic melanoma, renal cell carcinoma and lung cancer.
The blood-filtering technology manufactured by the US medical tech company Immunicom was awarded a breakthrough device designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this year.